Macaroni and cheese typically supplies calcium and vitamin D from the milk and cheese, but this pregnancy-optimized recipe packs in even more nutrients. Whole-wheat elbow macaroni and breadcrumbs provide extra fiber, sundried tomatoes add fiber and vitamin C, and green peas boost mom’s intake of folate and lutein (a natural phytonutrient with eye-protective benefits for mom and baby).
Once you realize how easy homemade bread crumbs are to make, you’ll never buy breadcrumbs again. Simply place a couple of slices of whole-wheat bread into a food processor and chop to desired crumb texture.
Makes 8 servings (about 1 cup each)
8 ounces whole-wheat elbow macaroni, uncooked
2 2/3 cups reduced-fat 2 percent milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces Fontina cheese, grated
4 ounces reduced-fat sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup julienne-cut, extra-moist sundried tomatoes
11/4 cups frozen green peas, thawed
1 cup homemade soft whole-wheat bread crumbs
1 tablespoon canola oil
1. Cook macaroni for 1-2 minutes fewer than indicated on package directions so elbows are al dente; this prevents overcooking in oven. Drain cooked pasta and set aside.
2. Coat a 2-quart (8-inch square) casserole dish with vegetable cooking spray; set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
4. In a large saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch and all spices and seasonings. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly (about 8-13 minutes).
5. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheeses and sundried tomatoes. Pour mixture into baking dish and cover with foil.
6. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until thoroughly hot in center and bubbling slightly on edges.
7. While casserole cooks in oven, heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, for several minutes until crumbs are slightly browned.
8. Once casserole is hot throughout, remove from oven and stir in green peas.
9. Top with breadcrumbs and return to oven. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until browned and hot.
Nutrition information (per serving)
11 g fat (5.5 g saturated)
31 mg cholesterol
36 g carbohydrates
17 g protein
534 mg sodium
370 mg potassium
333 mg calcium
2 mg iron
42 mcg folate
45 IU vitamin D
867 IU vitamin A
6 mg vitamin C
4.5 g fiber